Have you heard of it?
I’m so in love with this Danish concept and, truth be told, it’s offered some real inspiration for my home and life this winter. The Dane’s created the concept as a way to survive the cold, dark days of winter. Sound familiar? Can I get an amen??? I mean, pass the therapy light and extra large cup of coffee and count me in cause this girl needs her Hygge.
So what is it, you might be asking?
According to the adorable website, Hygge House, Hygge is:
Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary, every day moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. Whether it’s making coffee a verb by creating a ritual of making it then lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to the simple act of lighting a candle with every meal. Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special.
Some refer to hygge as an “art of creating intimacy” (either with yourself, friends and your home). While there’s no one English word to describe hygge, several can be used interchangeably to describe the idea of hygge such as cosiness, charm, happiness, contentedness, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness.
Ummm. Sign me up, sister.
So. The question then remains, how do you Hygge? (Fun fact, the word Hygge is both a verb and a noun. Like, “Let’s hygge!” (v). Or, “I need more Hygge” (n).
Hygge is all about creating an atmosphere. It’s about being cozy, and interestingly enough, it’s usually about community, but of course you can hygge by yourself, too. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here, because there are already some great articles out there on the art of hygge. I especially like this one.
My favorite element of the hygge concept is the art of making every moment special. I love this idea of taking the time and care to create an atmosphere of comfort, beauty, and calm. It’s so easy to rush through our lives and end up doing things out of obligation without any sense of art or appreciation.
Turn everyday activities into rituals. Instead of taking a shower, take a hot bath. When you make dinner, place a vase of flowers on the table, whether or not you’re eating alone. Before you leave the house, dab a bit of your favorite scent on the inside of your wrists and take the time to breathe it in. “When we hygger, we ritualize things that we do and transform the commonplace,” Brits explains. “The smallest actions consciously and regularly repeated become the rites of everyday existence, shared or solitary, that speak to our hearts.” (source)
I can’t tell you how much it brightens my day and lifts my spirit to have a vase of flowers out on my table (Aldi’s bouquets of tulips are only $2.99 right now!), to listen to records while I make dinner, or have a fire lit while the kids and I do our daily school work and reading. These extra elements are so incredibly simple, but add so much joy to the moment. They keep me rooted in simple pleasures, in feeling grateful, and remind me that there is so much to enjoy, even in these dark days of winter.
I also love that, although the hygee concept applies to those solitary moments when you are enjoying a bubble bath or good book by the fire, it is also about community. In this article, the author mentioned that she tries to invite friends over to her home more, rather than meeting up at a restaurant. All you need is a simple frozen pizza and some friends around the table to turn an evening into a light hearted and meaningful gathering. Sometimes, we can be together without really “gathering” when we meet up with others in public. There is so much to draw our attention away from the people, food, and conversation in front of us. There is something so much more intimate and calming about gathering in someone’s home. It doesn’t have to be fancy – in fact, hygee pros would probably advise you to keep it casual. A board game, some take out, and a few lit candles scattered around the room are all you need!
One essential part of your hygee experience is coffee, obviously. The Danes have a word for that, too, and it’s amazing: fika.
The word (pronounced “fee-kah”) roughly translates to “coffee break,” but it’s much more than that: It’s the beloved Swedish and Finnish custom of pausing during your day to catch up with friends over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat. (source)
I. LOVE. THIS. SO. MUCH.
Truth be told, there is nothing I love more than inviting a friend over to enjoy a cup of jo and baked good to go along with our conversation. This isn’t just a nice way to pass a few hours in the winter time – it’s vital. The cold, dark days and grouchy kids can quickly make you loose your grip on reality. Baking a coffee cake is a great excuse for me to invite a friend over and remember the good things in life.
Here are a few of my favorite go-to baked good recipes to eat and to share:
This coffee cake is so yummy. I’ve made it with cherries as instructed and rhubarb. Both delicious.
This apple-blackberry cake is as pretty as it is delicious.
These maple-pecan-banana muffins are vegan and this is probably my most favorite muffin recipe to day. love.
So in the spirit of hygge, I’ve picked up a bouquet of flowers every time I’m at Aldi getting groceries, I’ve left my pretty white twinkly lights up in my kitchen and living room, and I’ve taken care to do the little things that make life more enjoyable – a cup of coffee or tea while I read, soft music and a fire while I blog, or even just having fresh herbs on hand to sprinkle on top of meals ready to be put on the table. Simple, but meaningful.
What about you, my friend? Do you hygge? How do you make your home and life extra special this time of year? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any and all suggestions for hyggeing my home. Favorite candle brands? Best way to cozy up a space? Maybe a favorite coffee cake recipe? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy hygge, ally you cozy cupcakes!